Measuring Snow - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Measuring Snow

Viewer:

I read that this is the first measureable snow since 1988, but there was snow on the ground New Year's Day 2001.

Jay:

I think that actually was New Year's Day, 2002 ... LSU vs. Illinois in the Sugar Bowl and the I-10 was closed.

And another quirk for south Louisiana is that snow accumulations are so rare and so spotty (like a summer hailstorm) that it is VERY likely that one or two events are not included in the "official" record. For most, Metro Airport is the "official" record ... which prompts the question: WHY Metro AP? Who lives at the AP?

Viewer:

What is the weather service protocol for measuring snow? Perhaps since that was an early morning snow, it wasn't to be measured until later when it had melted.

Jay:

... there are a couple of "new" problems in terms of reporting snow for BR. The BIGGEST problem is that there is no longer an "official" observation site that makes the measurements. Since the "full automation" of weather obs at Metro Airport, we no longer get snow measurements from that site because there is no "automated" snow recording/reporting device. All we get from Metro AP now is "liquid equivalent" ... and that cannot be "back-converted" to snow.

The NWS method for measuring snow (officially) is through use of a "snow board and snow stick" ... and I believe that we can find such a tool just up the road a piece ... like in Memphis! In my 20+ years of working with the NWS I have never seen an "official" snow board site anywhere in the state. I suspect there may be one or two in North LA, but any that exist "down south" are homemade for sure!

Got to admit . . . snow is NOT one of my specialties, but I believe that the method for proper recording is to measure added accumulations over 6 hours. And yes, this would tend to give you a "higher" snow total than just one measurement at the end of a 24-hour period ... especially in a "warm" climate where melt, evap and compression would become factors even within a 24-hour window.

 

Powered by WorldNow